Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is my “youngest, older ” daughter’s birthday. I’m proud to call her my daughter. She is a wonderful woman. She has strength of character and a resilience seldom found in one so young. She is dedicated, with a sense of purpose as well as a great sense of humor. She’s independent, smart, caring, supportive and loving. She listens before making up her mind and she allows others their say. She is generous with her parents, supportive of her siblings and appreciative of her main squeeze.

She is making a difference in so many ways. Ways that many of us could follow. It’s the little things that matter. Taking your own bag to the grocery store, recycling paper, glass and plastic, combining your errands, using safe non-toxic cleaning and laundry products. She is looking at purchasing her next vehicle; a hybrid. These actions and the many wonderful traits that she has , make me proud to call her “My Daughter”.

Happy Birthday. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. I love you.

Mom

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A Green Resolution

This is the time of the year when everyone is concerned with resolutions for the new year. Why not resolve to do your part to keep the planet green. Close your eyes for a moment and picture your favorite park in shades of brown with lots of cement. Then, picture in your mind that same park in shades of green with plenty of trees, flowers and bushes. Which scene do you prefer? Of course, there are those parks that do not have much green, such a Bryce or Arches in Utah and they are beautiful beyond words. There green takes on a different meaning as it truly does when it comes to “being green”. When we speak of “being green”, it means different things to different people. Overall, it means to protect and care for our planet. It means to take an active role in maintaining, not using and destroying.

Stop for a moment, think about how you, one person can make a difference. If your an outdoor person, you have many options; plant a tree or donate to a cause that plants millions of trees. If you have weeds, pick them, don’t put a chemical on them. Remember, the birds and other small critters in the area are a part of our environment and do not deserve to be served a diet of chemicals. If you are an indoor person, you can help by using green products to clean yourself, your laundry and your house. To find out more about your options, check out the link Green Home.

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Healthy Home – Healthy Child

Creating a healthy environment in your home should take top priority.  Especially if you have a child or you are a grandparent, uncle or aunt and have children visiting your home. According to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Toxicology, children are more vulnerable to chemical toxins than adults. My favorite health company Shaklee has partnered with Healthy Child Healthy World a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting the health and well being of children from harmful environmental exposures. It is their combined goal to help educate the public about healthier solutions and products in the marketplace. They stress 5 Easy Steps to obtaining a healthy home.

  1. Avoid using pesticides
  2. Clean Safely
  3. Help children breathe easier
  4. Provide healthy food
  5. Use plastics wisely

You can read the entire message at http://shaklee.com/causes_heal……hild.shtml

I believe that an informed consumer makes better choices. So, start to educate yourself. You can access a number of sources. If you want to find out about current products that you are using go to the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine Household Products Database. Other sources of information would be the EPA sites, or University sites such as www.berkeley.edu  and  look for media releases that discuss household chemicals. You have alternatives that are healthy for you, your child, and the planet. So, why not take that step.  Make a choice to be clean, green and healthy.

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Protect our Environment

Each of us has the right and responsibility to protect our environment. There are many elements that make up our environment and water is only one of those but, a precious commodity here in the Southwest. Our aquafirs are drying up and we have been in a drought for 10 years. Here in Southern Arizona, we buy a portion of our water from the Colorado River Project and yes, we get rain some years but seldom enough to replenish what we have taken and often the rain comes in torrents that creates more problems than it solves. Currently it is monsoon time, which means that stormdrains and washes will be running high with water. People will have to be rescued from rushing waters that fill underpasses and low lying areas.

Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil and Paint are all accepted at our landfills and hazardous waste sites where they are properly disposed of. There is no need to dump these products or cuttings from trees and bushes in the washes but yet people do. These products as well as household cleaning products can and do pollute our washes and harm wildlife. These washes feed into rivers that run only when it rains unless, they are being used to dispose of treated water from our water treatment plants. This is the water that birds and other wild animals have to drink from. This is also the water that will eventually seep down into our aquafirs and once again become our drinking water.

It’s so easy to make a change and do the right thing. Dispose of products that are hazardous in a proper manner and start changing to products that are safe for you and our planet when you clean your home or do your laundry. It is hard for me to understand why we as the keepers of this planet put up with and tolerate what is made available to us by the large corporations. Send them a message; choose a better way.

No matter where you live, Arizona or New York, protect your rivers and lakes for they are our source of life.

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Simpler Times

I just recently lost my brother Bob. I was his kid sister, even in our advanced ages. His passing has made me think of our younger years and simpler times. We grew up in a small town in Kansas, population around 600. We were free to roam all over town and we did. We even played hide and seek with the neighborhood kids after dark. We had a front porch with a swing and a large Maple tree for climbing. In the spring and summer, we had garden and yard chores. We cut a small yard of grass with a push mower. Year round we had chickens to feed, eggs to gather. We hung clothes on lines outside to dry unless it was too cold and then we hung then on the enclosed back porch. We didn’t eat meat everyday but, we did have a big family dinner on Sundays which usually consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, a vegetable, homemade bread and pie or cake for desert. Soda pop was a seldom treat as was ice cream or candy. Paper towels were not used, nor were kleenix. It was cloth towels, with dishes air dried in racks and hankies that were washed and ironed. Fresh sheets and towels were put out once a week. If we needed something that our small town couldn’t provide, we took the train in the morning to a larger town nearby and returned home on the train that evening. During the war years, (WW11) we didn’t own a car. Any necessary trips were made by bus or train. After the war we purchased a car when they became available. We now drove the 5 blocks to church on Sunday instead of walking. The mid to late 50′s seem to usher in a new age, bigger cars, bigger and better highways. More discretionary income, more people taking vacations, buying more clothes, more convient washing machines so that we could wash more clothes more often. More modern homes (without front porches), further out from the towns and cities, so walking became a thing of the past and we drove every where. Familys scattered. My brother joined the CB’s ( a branch of the Navy) and was stationed in California. He married a local beauty and after his discharge remained in California. My older sister and her husband moved to Colorado. Another sister and her husband took up farming some fifty miles from home. My older brother who served in WW11 stayed for a while and worked the parts department for the local auto dealer before moving about 100 miles from home. I went off to Colorado after college, married and moved back east. By the 60′s, our family was spread all over the country, necessitating driving or flying back and forth for family reunions. Life was no longer simple. By the 70′s women became major players in the work force, creating the need for easier to prepare meals as well as more meals out. The two pay check family often meant two cars. And so on and on it went and away went the simpler life. Can we return to those times? No, time marches on and with that comes change. Can we live a simpler life in these times? Yes. We just have to pattern it to fit todays world. We can learn to recycle more than plastic, paper and glass. We can demand less packaging. We can car pool and organize our errands so that we make one trip instead of 10. We can when practical, learn to use the power of nature. Here in Arizona today on our back patio the temperature has hit 118. This is probably hotter than normal by at least 5 degrees. Think about what 5 degrees a year could mean to our environment. Also, even though we have all of this sunshine and heat, we cannot have clothes lines. This may need to change. If we want to keep the beauty of our world, then we may need to change our attitude about laundry drying on a line. Perhaps it is in the simple small changes that we can make that we will tame global warming.

I dedicate these thoughts to you Bob. Thanks for being my big brother.

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Is Your Home Healthy

When you walk into a home or a building and you can smell cleaning chemicals what is your first reaction? I know what mine is; let me out of here. The best cleaning smell is no smell.

One of the most dangerous cleaning product is toilet bowel cleaners. They can contain chlorine and hydrochloric acid which is harmful to your health simply by breathing during use.

Did you know that accidental ingestion of common household products is the Number ONE cause of poisoning of children. However, most poisonings happen slowly, by daily exposure to toxins in the air that we breath and by toxic chemicals that come in contact with the skin. Many household products contain known carcinogens and/or neurotoxins. Carcinogens are chemicals that cause cancer. Neurotoxins are chemicals that adversely affect the nervous system. So, if you are using cleaning products that are making you sick, then you have a choice; either stop cleaning or switch to products that are nontoxic and safe.  Check out www.shaklee.net/greenhome and if after doing so you have questions, click on contact me; sending me your e-mail and question.

If you are still skeptical about the effects of common household products on your familys health, don’t just take my word for it, become an educated consumer, check out some of the available research. Just know that there is a solution to the problem.

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Not all green is clean

This post is for my niece Jody. She and I spent a few days together at her parents house last week. We were there because her dad, my brother is in failing health. Jody is a wonderful, caring person. She knows how to walk in to a situation, size it up and take action. It was her action that has inspired this message. She cleaned the tile floors in the kitchen using a popular supermarket cleaner. First, we need a disclaimer; Jody did not know about the harm that certain cleaners can do. Harm to herself, her family and her environment. So, I won’t hold her responsible for past choices. Also, in her own home, she says that hot water by itself usually is all that she uses on her tile floors. So, please Jody forgive me if I carry on a bit about the cleaners that are found in some households.

When running a race we do not all arrive at the finish line at the same time, if we did, it wouldn’t be called a race. The human race runs a bit like a foot race, in that we don’t all cross the finish line at the same time. We arrive at or make choices based on information available to us at a given time. So, Jody you are forgiven for not having the facts about cleaning products that are harmful. However, going forward, you will have the information to make a better choice if your are willing to check out the site listed here on my blog. First I must confess that I was older than you before I arrived at the finish line and realized that there are better and safer products available. I was in ill health and that was the driving force that pushed me over the line to investigate clean and non toxic products.

Have you ever noticed how many of the offensive cleaning products are green or blue? You don’t suppose that it is subliminal do you? But of course, we think clean when we see green. The color of trees and grass. How about blue, the color of the ocean, lakes and rivers. The particular cleaner that started the interaction, is a degrease. If a degreaser contains petroleum distillates and butyl cellosolve, which most do, they can cause damage to the lung tissues and dissolve fatty tissue surrounding the nerve cells. If the cleaner contains ammonia, the fumes can irritate skin, eyes and respiratory system. Some products can cause cancer and liver damage. The EPA says that only a fraction of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals have gone through testing for human health concerns. More than 9 out of 10 suspected poison exposures occur at home with household products.For

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Caring for Our Water

Did you know that there is the same amount of water on the earth as when the earth was formed? What we have is all that we will ever have, just in different forms. Water moves in cycles; evaporation, condensation, precipitation, run off, and infiltration. Also, did you know that 98% of the earth’s water is saline? The 2% that remains must provide us with the water to nourish ourselves, our crops, our animals and even our electricity as in the case of hydro electric plants; all this and many more. Of the 2%, only 1% can be used for drinking. So who is taking care of our water? Read the rest of this entry »

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Family Visits

My last post was before Easter. The time since then has been filled with family visits and a brief do nothing period. Easter like other holidays is best celebrated with family. For the past five years we have spent the day at our daughter Trisha’s. She along with Rod put on a great brunch for family and friends that lasts late into the day. Rod’s mother who makes her annual trek from Connecticut for some Southwest sunshine for a few weeks, winds up her trip with the brunch. This year, our son Phil and his mate Deb were here for the event. They inturn brought friends. Friends and family are who define us in many ways. It is because of them that we extend ourselves to do things. It is the care and love that we give to them that comes back to us in many ways.

The great thing about having people visit is that we usually take them to see the local sites. The week following Easter, Phil and Deb, my husband and I took a short trip. We went exploring in Monument Valley in Northeast Arizona. The famous land monuments in this valley have been carved by nature; wind and water, and all have names that identify them. There are the Three Sisters, Mexican Hat , The Mittens and many more. It seems strange that in this dry dusty land, water could have played such a large part in its past and that lack of it will play a big part in its future.

Lack of water to support our growing population is a looming concern in Arizona and throughout the west. About 15 years ago, my son recommended I read a book titled Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner who wrote about the American West and its disappearing water. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wind Power

Growing up in Kansas and now, living in Arizona, I have lived with wind. Wind like fire and water is an element to be dealt with. We are still learning how to harnes the wind as we have fire and water and it is proving to serve us well. Wind is solar energy and as such is clean, affordable, domestic and inexhaustible; it just isn’t always dependable. Aided by government incentives, the current trend of windmill farms is growing. This harnesed power then needs to be converted to electricity to be used. How this takes place is explained in depth on the most informative site that I found; the US Dept of Energy site at www.eere.energy.gov/wind/ I do think that we could perhaps come up with means to capture the wind other than the large monstrosities but, for now they may have to do and do well. There are a number of Companies who have pledged to use only wind power to sustain their business, among them is Silksoy milk. My daughter who is lactose intolerent, brought this to my attention. This company has pledged to go carbon neutral and do so using wind power.  If you want to know how you too can go carbon neutral by buying  wind credits, you will find links to this information and much more.  Check them out at http://www.silksoymilk.com/Abo……Award.aspx

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